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  • Stakeholders call for establishment of Cashew Board to boost FX

    Aug 20th, 2015

    Stakeholders in the cashew industry have called for the establishment of a Cashew Board, to boost foreign exchange (FX) earnings for the country and generate more jobs for the people. The stakeholders made the appeal in interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday, at the end of a two-day workshop in Ilorin, Kwara State.

    The workshop centred on the theme: “Cashew business Competitiveness and sustainability.” The stakeholders also appealed to the Federal Government to assist cashew farmers and processors in the country through the provision of a special fund, to boost cashew production.

    Emmanuel Ezeagu, deputy director (product development), Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), said the Board would protect the interests of cashew farmers, saying the Board, when established, would ensure that Nigerian cashew species were of high quality and also source markets for them. Ezeagu, who described cashew business as a money-spinner, because of the high demand for the cashew nuts, said government should assist farmers to improve and increase production.

    “Cashew, right now, is a money-spinner; there are lots of Indians and Vietnamese coming to Nigeria to buy the raw cashew nuts. The market for cashew nuts is so huge that Nigerian cashew farmers should take advantage of it,” Ezeagu said. He also called on both the states and local governments to encourage farmers to venture into the cashew plantation business, saying state governments can assist cashew farmers with improved seedlings, fertilizers and micro-credit loan facilities.

    Tola Fasheru, president, National Cashew Association of Nigeria (NCAN), decried the high cost of processing a ton of cashew in Nigeria, saying it costs $500 to process one ton of cashew, whereas it costs about $250 in India and $217 in Vietnam to process the same quantity of cashew. Fasheru said for the Nigerian cashew industry to compete favourably with other countries, government should set up a special fund for the industry.

    According to him, the sustainability and competitiveness of the sector may be a mirage if government at all levels does not assist cashew farmers and processors. Sunil Duhiya, business advisory manager, African Cashew Alliance (ACA), said the cashew industry had a great potential as a foreign exchange earner for the country.

    To realise this potential, Duhiya said the sector must be properly harnessed and incentives provided by government, noting that the governments of India, Vietnam and Mozambique subsidised the cost of processing cashew nuts. According to him, the Indian government pays cashew processors $80 as subsidy per metric ton, while Vietnam pays about $70 to its cashew processors.

    He said ACA, since its inception, was committed to improving the competitiveness and sustainability of the African cashew industry, as the Alliance had also made efforts to increase the processing of cashew in the continent. “Our objective is to facilitate the development of an industry that benefits the entire value chain, from farmer to consumer by sharing information and best practices among all stakeholders,” he said.

    A cashew farmer, Akeem Anifowose, appealed to Raw Material Research and Development council (RMRDC) and investors to come up with the appropriate technology to process cashew apple and shell. He also made a case for the NEPC to find market for cashew shells, as many of the by-products waste away on their farms.